By Amy Feitelberg
July 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

Hmm…is this a movie or a metaphor for Meg Ryan’s career? We know, Meg, you’re tired of playing cutesy (and we’re sick of seeing it), but you can’t exactly pull off boys-club ball-buster, either. In fact, not much of anything is pulled off in the featherweight biopic Against the Ropes. Based on the story of real-life tough gal Jackie Kallen, a woman who defied convention by becoming a (successful) female boxing manager, it’s a premise ripe for a ”you go girl!” yarn. Unfortunately, Ryan’s performance falls flatter than her Midwestern accent and ironed hair. There are some nice moments with Omar Epps as the underdog fighter and Charles S. Dutton (who also directed) as his nurturing trainer, but slow pacing and a weak supporting cast — including the usually sharp Tony Shalhoub — leave this flick down for the count.

EXTRAS The two featurettes, interspersing comments from the real Kallen with clips from the movie, pack a bit more of a punch.